Greenpeace pictures show the environmental destruction caused by giant illegal Chinese coal mine

By Anders Lorenzen

Photo credits:

© Wu Haitao/Greenpeace

A Greenpeace investigation has found that a Chinese coal mine is encroaching onto the third largest river in Asia, the Yellow River.

Greenpeace found that the mining operation is illegal as it violates a number water protection laws and local nature reserve regulations. The large mine is part of a coal chain run by private companies.

Its sheer scale of magnitude covers an area 14 times larger than the City of London. Its location is at the Qinghai-Tibet plateau which is known as China’s water tower as it’s from this location China’s largest rivers were born. The mining operation is, according to Greenpeace, adding fresh concerns to coal mining impacts on water resources.

The mine is located 4,000 metres above sea level and since it was started in 2003, it has destroyed pristine alpine meadows which links the glaciers on the Qinghai Mountains to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

Despite the Chinese government saying they are moving away from coal, Greenpeace research has shown that the government plans to boost coal production by building 16 coal industry hubs that will consume nearly 10 billion cubic meters of water, the equivalent of one sixth of the Yellow River’s water volume.

Until now the Chinese argument against coal has been that of air pollution, but this new Greenpeace research has shown that coal not only threatens freshwater resources but also the Yellow River known as the mother of China’s rivers.

Below pictures taken by undercover campaigners from Greenpeace’s Beijing office highlight the extent of damage being done by the giant coal mine:

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